Investments aligned with this Strategic Goal aim to protect, restore, and increase biodiversity in terrestrial habitats by reducing land degradation, increasing the size of protected area, and sustainably managing forested, agricultural, and other land.

The sections below include an overview of the approach for achieving desired goals, supporting evidence, core metrics that help measure performance toward goals, and a curated list of resources to support collecting, reporting on, and using data for decision-making.


Dimensions of Impact: WHAT

Investors interested in deploying this strategy should consider the scale of the addressable problem, what positive outcomes might be, and how important the change would be to the people (or planet) experiencing it.

Key questions in this dimension include:

What problem does the investment aim to address? For the target stakeholders experiencing the problem, how important is this change?

Human action has led to the worldwide deterioration of nature and its vital contributions to human society, including biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services. According to the Living Planet Index, populations of terrestrial species declined 38% between 1970 and 2012 (1).

Supply chains, economies, and livelihoods worldwide already face adverse impacts from degrading genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity on land, even as global population growth increases the pressure on ecosystem services. The main anthropogenic drivers of this degraded diversity include land degradation due to unsustainable agriculture and the conversion of natural areas into urban and agricultural use (known as changes in land use) (2). For forest ecosystems, land-use change can include road construction, mining, ranching, and wildfires (3). Additionally, as landscapes are fragmented by human activity, habitat is lost and species communities become isolated, with the remaining species characterized by inbreeding, reduced gene flow, and genetic drift (4).

Safeguarding the quality of terrestrial ecosystems—and thus of biodiversity and our livelihoods—will require limiting human influence by protecting and restoring natural areas (5). Governments and experts have set global biodiversity goals, recognizing that the natural environment provides the basic conditions for human wellbeing. Examples include the Convention on Biological Diversity, signed by 150 political leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the 2030 Biodiversity Targets, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, and the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (6).

Given past and ongoing rapid declines, most international societal and environmental goals for terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services are under threat. Yet nature conservation efforts, including investments aligned with this Strategic Goal, can generate annual benefits of USD 470 billion, create more than 600,000 jobs, and cut carbon emissions by up to 2.6 gigatons per year (well beyond 5% of total global emissions), according to a McKinsey analysis (7). Investments in conservation have also proven profitable: in a 2016 study of funds in the timber sector, net returns exceeded 8.6% for sustainable timber impact funds since inception (1997-2014) compared to 4.2% for conventional funds over the timeframe (8). Investments in terrestrial biodiversity, which are viable in both rural and urban landscapes, should be approached holistically, implementing best management practices like the reduction and control of invasive alien species and water pollution and directing attention to sustainability across supply chains.

Investments aligned with this Strategic Goal can:

  • protect or restore habitats for wildlife and pollinators in diverse landscapes, for instance by generating voluntary carbon or wildlife credits or by providing climate-adaptation services to communities (that is, buffer zones against physical climate risk);
  • support agriculture, forestry, or other land-based projects that increase the biodiversity of plants, wildlife, pollinator species, and soil microbiology, as well as restoring natural forest;
  • support investee companies to adopt water stewardship, for instance by responsibly managing chemicals and fertilizers or by protecting or restoring freshwater resources (that is, restoring degraded peatlands and wetlands or replenishing aquifers);
  • monetize the value of ecosystem services, restoring and preserving the species diversity that provides them;
  • finance projects led by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities to protect natural ecosystems, such as those that produce non-timber forest products, as well as agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry projects more broadly that use sustainable and regenerative practices;* and
  • fund research and development (and scaling) of innovative technologies and approaches that enable the better protection and restoration of terrestrial ecosystems.

*For more on Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainable Forestry, see the associated themes in IRIS+, which include more specific information on biodiversity and ecosystems within those projects. Readers may also be interested in the GIIN’s Scaling Impact Investment in Forestry report and Understanding Impact Performance: Agriculture Investments.

What is the scale of the problem?

Globally, the majority of terrestrial ecosystem health and biodiversity indicators are rapidly declining, leading the United Nations Secretary-General to describe the world’s current loss of biodiversity as an urgent and existential threat (9,10). Between 2000 and 2013, the size of natural area without human pressures decreased by more than 91 million hectares. In the tropics alone, 32 million hectares of highly biodiverse forest disappeared between 2010 and 2015. The surface area and condition of terrestrial ecosystems worldwide has nearly halved in recent decades, and this decline will continue at an estimated annual rate of at least 4% (11).

Average native species richness has declined globally by at least 20% since 1970, jeopardizing the free benefits that societies derive from nature. For example, global crop production worth USD 577 billion per year is at risk from pollinator losses (a regulating service). The delivery of non-material (or "cultural") services, such as those contributing to inspiration and learning, has greatly declined over the past 50 years, even as indigenous populations (for example, in the United States, Canada, and Australia) heavily rely on these and other ecosystem services (12).

Biodiversity conservation is currently financed around USD 124-143 billion per year worldwide, of which 80-85% derives from the public sector. Yet estimates of the global biodiversity funding needs range notably higher, at USD 722-967 billion (13). The global protected area network contains 16% of terrestrial habitat; managing this area would require about USD 75 billion in annual funding, roughly three times more than that currently available (14). The funding available for biodiversity has yet to significantly impact low- to middle-income countries, which are home to global biodiversity hotspots. Furthermore, populations in these countries greatly rely on ecosystem services for their wellbeing and livelihoods, especially in the dominant agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and tourism sectors. Addressing the global gap in biodiversity financing means not only meeting global funding needs but also effectively delivering finance to these biodiversity hotspots (15).


Dimensions of Impact: WHO

Investors interested in deploying this strategy should consider whom they want to target, as almost every strategy has a host of potential beneficiaries. While some investors may target women of color living in a particular rural area, others may set targets more broadly, e.g., women. Investors interested in targeting particular populations should focus on strategies that have been shown to benefit those populations.

Key questions in this dimension include:

Who (people, planet, or both) is helped through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Though investments aligned with this Strategic Goal could positively affect people and planet quite broadly, specific target stakeholders include the following.

  • Flora and fauna: Flora and fauna alike risk extinction if their habitat deteriorates, is reduced, or becomes fragmented (16). Negative impacts include the disruption of critical species interactions, including the reduced ability of species to successfully interact and breed, changes to predation rates, and reduced trophic chain lengths (17).
  • Protected areas and beyond: Protected areas preserve existing biodiversity by controlling or eliminating human impacts on terrestrial habitats. While protected areas now cover 15% of terrestrial and freshwater environments, they only partly cover important sites for biodiversity and are not yet fully ecologically representative or effectively and equitably managed (18). Outside of formal protected areas, biodiversity conservation can share land with sustainable agriculture through low-intensity organic farming, agri-environment schemes, and agroforestry, among other methods. In rewilding, another method gaining popularity in some parts of the world, natural and independent ecosystem processes are restored through human intervention (19). Examples of rewilding include removing unused dams to restore fish migration or allowing rivers to once again take their natural course rather than straightening them.
  • Soil: Investments in this goal can support agricultural practices that promote soil health, decreasing compaction, erosion, and run-off, in turn decreasing the need for synthetic fertilization while increasing soil organic matter, carbon storage, water retention, and moisture management. Such practices provide conditions for the soil microbiome to thrive, furthering the suite of biological benefits it provides (20).
  • Climate: Forests absorb one-third of annual global carbon dioxide emissions, thus mitigating climate change (21). Grasslands and mountain systems also sequester and store large amounts of carbon, balancing greenhouse gas levels (22). Desertification of terrestrial ecosystems alters local climates, which can influence the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide and water budgets (23). Protecting and restoring natural carbon sinks is essential to mitigate climate change and safeguard species’ habitats. Over the following decades, climate change is expected to have, compared to land-use change, an equal or larger influence on extinction rates and habitat loss (24).
  • Local communities: Healthy ecosystems have intrinsic value and cultural significance, particularly to local communities. Conservation and soil-health practices can boost the long-term resilience of farming practices, benefiting communities financially. Forests contribute to the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people, while 800 million depend on grasslands (25,26). Woodlands protect against landslides and floods and mitigate climate change (27). Forests, drylands, grasslands, and mountains provide cultural value and scenic beauty. Degradation and loss of these systems not only deteriorate ecosystems but can also compromise tourism.
  • Indigenous peoples: A strong working relationship based on recognition and Indigenous-led governance can yield impressive mutual benefits for investors, Indigenous communities, and biodiversity. Though Indigenous peoples comprise only 5% of the global population, Indigenous communities, on territory they control, are responsible for roughly 80% of the world’s remaining forest biodiversity (28). Indigenous and community lands store at least 24% of the above-ground carbon in the world’s tropical forests. Often termed "Stewards of the Earth," Indigenous communities are a clear collaborative focus population for investments aligned with this Strategic Goal (29). Indigenous peoples are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people worldwide; measures are needed to protect their rights, preserve their cultures, and recognize their territories (30). For more information on Indigenous rights and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), see IFC Performance Standard 7 on Indigenous People (31).
  • Communities of color and other marginalized groups: People of color often live and work in the most environmentally degraded and polluted areas as a result of historical and ongoing environmental racism (32). In many countries, including the United States, Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color (BIPOC) communities are often forced for economic reasons to host factories or other facilities with negative environmental and biodiversity-related impacts, such as manufacturing plants that discharge toxic chemicals and harmful gases. Similar examples exist in Thailand, India, Mexico, and many other places (see WRI’s Pollution Is a Racial Justice Issue, Let’s Fight it that Way for further detail). The effects of environmental racism decrease biodiversity in these areas and reduce ecosystem services that the environment can provide. Investing in regenerative projects in and near communities of color can support a just and sustainable future for those communities.
  • Businesses and private landowners: The World Economic Forum estimates that USD 44 trillion of economic value generation is moderately or highly dependent on nature (33). Agricultural areas provide food security and forests deliver wood and non-wood products (such as fruits, vegetables, and oils). Healthy ecosystems capture, purify, and store freshwater which can subsequently be used in production processes and consumption. Businesses and private landowners have a long-term interest in maintaining these ecosystem services, whether or not they have correctly priced their stake under "business as usual."

What are the geographic attributes of those who are affected?

Approximately 60% of global biodiversity loss can be attributed to seven countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, China, India, Australia, and the United States. Conservation spending is most effective in low-income countries; one analysis found that global biodiversity conservation and climate stability goals depend on protecting 50 key ecoregions in just 20 countries, many of which intersect with Indigenous community areas (34).

Eighty percent of the world’s land-based species live in forests. Deforestation fronts, where the greatest deforestation occurs, are in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania (35). Most communities affected by desertification are in the Sahara region (including North Africa), Southeast Asia, and the Middle East (including the Arabian Peninsula). Asia has the largest share of people living in drylands, followed by sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America (36). Grasslands are mostly in the tropics, the Americas, Europe, Asia, and South Africa (37).


Dimensions of Impact: CONTRIBUTION

Investors considering investing in a company or portfolio aligned with this strategy should consider whether the effect they want to have compares to what is likely to happen anyway. Is the investment's contribution ‘likely better’ or ‘likely worse’ than what is likely to occur anyway across What, How much and Who?

Key questions in this dimension include:

How can investments in line with this Strategic Goal contribute to outcomes, and are these investments’ effects likely better, worse, or neutral than what would happen otherwise

Organizations can consider contribution at two levels—enterprise and investor. At the enterprise level, contribution is “the extent to which the enterprise contributed to an outcome by considering what would have otherwise happened in absence of their activities (i.e., a counterfactual scenario).” To learn more about methods for assessing counterfactuals, see the Impact Management Project.

Investor contribution can be described those factors that investors have influence over that can proactively and positively influence proportional social and environmental outcomes. Investors can contribute toward addressing the larger issues of the degradation of land and ecosystem health as follows:

  • Signal that impact matters by investing in projects that prioritize ecosystem and soil health, building networks and interest in the sector, and demonstrating commitment to addressing environmental problems through biodiversity conservation and restoration. Projects engaging actively in the field of biodiversity and sustainability can serve as illustrative case studies, offering starting points to set industry trends and standards.
  • Engage actively in the development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation stages of investments by supporting companies with technical assistance in agroecology, conservation planning, and other relevant fields. Investors can engage policymakers to design the right monetary incentives to move away from business-as-usual scenarios towards biodiversity-conscious practices. Importantly, investor engagement should not cover just those aspects of performance and policies relevant to investees’ own operations. Biodiversity impacts are highly contextual, defined mostly by the local vulnerability of ecosystems and the cumulative impacts of different stakeholders. As such, investors should mobilize alignment between project developers or companies and national or regional, integrated approaches to managing biodiversity. Recently, listed equity investors have begun to explore a platform for standardized collective shareholder engagement specifically on nature and biodiversity (41). Also, the Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosure (TFND), a new global initiative to give financial institutions and companies a complete picture of their environmental risks, will allow financial institutions and companies to incorporate nature-related risks and opportunities into their decision-making processes (42).
  • Grow new and undersupplied capital markets by investing in previously overlooked opportunities, techniques, tools, and technologies in terrestrial biodiversity conservation and restoration. To implement or adopt different land-use practices, land users (such as farmers or forest managers) need access to appropriately structured capital for their immediate and long-term needs. Investors can catalyze these underserved capital markets, particularly in regions where conventional land management practices remain widespread and dominant. One example mechanism to generate revenue for biodiversity conservation is payments for ecosystem services (PES), which benefit landowners who preserve ecosystem services to disincentivize the use of the land for purposes, such as deforestation, that harm the delivery of such services (43). Investors can create or support biocredits, similar to carbon credits, that can be sold by those who already deliver efforts for biodiversity conservation—households, farmers, private project developers, NGOs, and governments—thus contributing to transparent conservation measures (44).
  • Provide flexible capital. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are public goods whose true value is not reflected in economic transactions. Policy frameworks and voluntary markets are still developing. Therefore, "blended finance" is needed that leverages capital from public institutions or philanthropy to crowd in private capital. Many business models in biodiversity remain early stage, making it difficult to attract a broad range of investors to scale up (45). By providing flexible capital through blended finance vehicles and other products to landowners, farmers, and communities, as well as to businesses who work with these stakeholders, investors can contribute to ecosystem or environmental health. Long-term investments can target biodiversity restoration outcomes; research into species and ecosystems, connectivity, resilience, and improved or lower-cost techniques for measurement and monitoring; and the development of tools that allow entrepreneurs to accelerate impact.

How Much

Dimensions of Impact: HOW MUCH

Investors deploying capital into investments aligned with this strategy should think about how significant the investment's effect might be. What is likely to be the change's breadth, depth, and duration?

Key questions in this dimension include:

How many target stakeholders can experience the outcome through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Billions of animals, plants, and microorganisms, including humans, benefit from healthy and functioning ecosystems. Nature provides human existence, quality of life, and culture with food, feed, energy, medicines, and genetic resources (38). More than three-quarters of food crop types rely on animal pollination, and three-quarters of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity relies on forest ecosystems—so animal extinction threats are also often threats to agricultural yields (39). Most ecosystem services are not fully replaceable, and some are irreplaceable.

How much change can target stakeholders experience through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

The extent of change that results from investments aligned with this Strategic Goal will depend on the size, scope, and attributes of the land area affected, as well as the presence of any co-benefits from environmental rehabilitation and the investment’s length and stability. However, in general, conservation investment from the 109 signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity reduced biodiversity loss by an average of 29% per country between 1996 and 2008. Restoring 30% of converted land in priority areas could mitigate as much as 75% of extinction debt and sequester as many as 524 gigatons of CO2, helping combat much of the recent damage to the natural world. Land restoration is extremely cost-effective when targeting high-priority areas that have rich biodiversity and that are also experiencing high rates of agricultural expansion and biodiversity loss (40).


Dimensions of Impact: RISK

Key questions in this dimension include:

What impact risks do investments aligned with this Strategic Goal run? How can investments mitigate them?

The following are several impact risk factors for investments to improve terrestrial biodiversity:

  • External Risk: Investments face climate risks, such as extreme weather events like droughts, heat waves, and flooding, which are most effectively mitigated through climate-scenario analysis at the project level and through climate-adaptation measures (such as water storage) in restoration investments. Environmental risks involve insufficient coverage of the main drivers of ecosystem degradation. Mitigation starts with a deep understanding of the drivers of terrestrial biodiversity loss that might affect a certain project or investment and a plan to reduce or minimize these drivers. Overall, investors can apply an Environmental and Social Safeguards (or Standards), or ESS approach to substantially reduce environmental and social risks. Development institutions, international treaties, and agencies use ESS, a set of policies, standards, and operational procedures, to first identify and then to avoid, mitigate, and minimize adverse environmental and social impacts. The World Bank’s ESS Section 1 covers the assessment and management of environmental and social risks (46).
  • Evidence Risk: Notwithstanding progress made in measuring and monitoring climate risks and benefits, collecting biodiversity data is complex and challenging. For example, there is no single, high-level policy goal for biodiversity conservation akin to the 1.5°C warming ceiling established by the Paris Agreement. Conserving biodiversity is a much more complex financial problem than climate change, in part because it greatly depends on local factors, despite having global implications. Data are limited on the complex relationship between companies and terrestrial biodiversity as mediated through operations and supply chains. Furthermore, there is no clear taxonomy of biodiversity investments and definitions, nor are there widely accepted risk assessment and reporting frameworks (47). Investors can minimize this risk by implementing formalized and standardized monitoring, reporting, and evidence-collection procedures. At the same time, investors should (albeit with caution) embrace innovative measurement approaches. Interesting work related to the standardization of data and measurement approaches is available from the European Business & Biodiversity Platform’s workstream on methods (i.e., the Biodiversity Measurement Navigation Wheel); the Platform for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF), which is working towards a standard for assessing biodiversity impact and dependency; and the Align project (Aligning accounting approaches for nature), which is developing a standardized approach to biodiversity measurement and closely cooperates with PBAF.
  • Stakeholder Participation Risk: Investments face risks if they lack the support of both local communities and governments. Ecosystem-related projects risk a lack of community support or participation if local stakeholders are not brought into the design and implementation of the project at an early stage. By engaging stakeholders, particularly Indigenous peoples and others who have historical relationships with the land, investors can mitigate this risk. In terms of engagement with governments, investors should ensure that the invested region has strong regulation and enforcement of environmental protection laws. Investors can also advocate for policy and regulation that supports and encourages biodiversity-friendly land management practices.
  • Unexpected Impact Risk: Investments that increase sustainability in one domain can negatively affect biodiversity in another. For example, hydropower can offer an environmentally friendly alternative to nuclear or fossil energy, but small hydroelectric power plants can obstruct waterways and thereby hinder migrating species, severely impacting aquatic biodiversity per kWh generated (48). In another example, local communities and Indigenous peoples are often both most vulnerable to the consequences of biodiversity loss and also critical potential partners in protecting biodiversity, as terrestrial ecosystem hotspots often overlap with local communities’ livelihoods. Due consideration of the rights, cultural practices, and ideas of Indigenous peoples and local communities should be part of any biodiversity-related effort. Investors should align their investment criteria with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.

Illustrative Investment

TFA2020 and South Sumatra’s regional government, together with PT Global Alam Lestari and Forest Carbon in the field, are restoring and preserving more than 22,000 hectares of peatland in Musi Banyuasin (South Sumatra) through the Sumatra Merang Peatland Project. Home to many vulnerable and endangered species—such as the Sumatran tiger, sun bear, and rhinoceros hornbill—the peatland area sustained dangerous damage after drainage for logging and plantations and the development of man-made canals to transport illegally harvested wood. The Sumatra Merang Peatland Project constructed more than 180 peatland compaction dams, bringing water back to the area. In doing so, the project has reduced the risk of fire, restored potential carbon capture, and re-enabled connection corridors in high-conservation-value forest areas. The project’s impact is monitored through sensors, satellite imagery, and data collection by a team on the ground, ensuring instant assessment of fire risk and gathering information on hydrology, biodiversity, and illegal harvesting. In terms of community development, more than USD 500,000 was invested in local communities, creating 145 jobs, offering educational programming to 210 children, and renovating a health center that serves more than 2,400 people.

Althelia Biodiversity Fund Brazil was established by Mirova Natural Capital and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with support from the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The fund’s objective is to invest USD 100 million in blended capital to protect biodiversity and livelihoods by financing sustainably managed agroforestry, biodiversity-friendly service providers, protected areas, and farming in the Amazon. The fund attracts private investors through its layered structure comprising junior and senior share classes; senior shareholders enjoy first-loss protection as a result of a USD 15 million investment from the CIAT in junior shares. The fund also has a credit guarantee from the Development Credit Authority, and USAID guarantees up to USD 100 million for half of any losses of the portfolio’s debt allocation. The fund invests in a growth window, targeting mature enterprises in addition to high-performing early-stage businesses, and a venture window, which targets enterprises with the opportunity for rapid scaling and potential for follow-on funding within five years.

At the end of the 20th century, practices such as unsustainable logging on steep slopes to clear land for smallholder agriculture, together with artificial desiccation and siltation of lakes, led to ecological crises in China. Severe droughts and floods have caused widespread economic losses, destroyed more than 13 million homes, and killed 3,600 people. In response, the Chinese government introduced the Conversion of Cropland to Forest Program, also termed the “Grain for Green program.” Implemented by the county-level government, the program aims to improve biodiversity, safeguard natural resources, reduce soil erosion and flooding, and improve rural areas by converting steep slopes, degraded croplands, and barren land into forests and grasslands. Between 1999 and 2014, almost USD 50 billion was invested in the project. According to a 2016 study, since 1999, land conversion subsidies were assigned to 32 million households (124 million people) and more than 28 million hectares of land were afforested.

Draw on Evidence

This mapped evidence shows what outcomes and impacts this strategy can have, based on academic and field research.

Quantitative assessment of the contributions of climate change and human activities on global grassland degradation 

Gang, Chengcheng, Wei Zhou, Yizhao Chen, Zhaoqi Wang, Zhengguo Sun, Jianlong Li, Jiaguo Qi, and Inakwu Odeh. “Quantitative Assessment of the Contributions of Climate Change and Human Activities on Global Grassland Degradation.” Environmental Earth Sciences 72, no. 11 (2014): 4273–82.

Protective functions and ecosystem services of global forests in the past quarter-century 

Miura, Satoru, Michael Amacher, Thomas Hofer, Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz, Ernawati, and Richard Thackway. “Protective Functions and Ecosystem Services of Global Forests in the Past Quarter-Century.” Forest Ecology and Management 352 (2015): 35–46.

Potential Biodiversity Benefits from International Programs to Reduce Carbon Emissions from Deforestation 

Siikamäki, Juha, and Stephen C. Newbold. “Potential Biodiversity Benefits from International Programs to Reduce Carbon Emissions from Deforestation.” AMBIO 41, no. S1 (2012): 78–89.

Thresholds of Logging Intensity to Maintain Tropical Forest Biodiversity 

Burivalova, Zuzana, Çağan Hakkı Şekercioğlu, and Lian Pin Koh. “Thresholds of Logging Intensity to Maintain Tropical Forest Biodiversity.” Current Biology 24, no. 16 (August 18, 2014): 1893–98.

Climate Benefits, Tenure Costs: The Economic Case for Securing Indigenous Land Rights in the Amazon.  

Ding, Helen, Peter Veit, Erin Gray, Katie Reytar, Juan-Carlos Altamirano, and Allen Blackman. “Climate Benefits, Tenure Costs.” World Resources Institute, June 10, 2016.

Forty Years of Community-Based Forestry: A Review of Its Extent and Effectiveness 

Gilmour, Don. 2016. “Forty Years of Community-Based Forestry: A Review of Its Extent and Effectiveness.” FAO Forestry Paper 176. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Rome, Italy.  

Genetic effects of anthropogenic habitat fragmentation on remnant animal and plant populations: a meta-analysis 

Schlaepfer, Daniel R., Brigitte Braschler, Hans-Peter Rusterholz, and Bruno Baur. “Genetic Effects of Anthropogenic Habitat Fragmentation on Remnant Animal and Plant Populations: a Meta-Analysis.” Ecosphere 9, no. 10 (2018).

Carbon sequestration and riparian zones: Assessing the impacts of changing regulatory practices in Southern Brazil

Marilice C. Garrastazú, Sabina D. Mendonça, Teçá T. Horokoski, Denise J. Cardoso, Maria A.D. Rosot, Evelyn R. Nimmo, André E.B. Lacerda, Carbon sequestration and riparian zones: Assessing the impacts of changing regulatory practices in Southern Brazil, Land Use Policy, Volume 42, 2015, Pages 329-339, ISSN 0264-8377,

Impacts of Habitat Loss and Fragmentation on Terrestrial Biodiversity 

Rogan, Jordan E., and Thomas E. Lacher. “Impacts of Habitat Loss and Fragmentation on Terrestrial Biodiversity.” Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, 2018.

Grass strategies and grassland community responses to environmental drivers: a review 

da Silveira Pontes, Laíse, Vincent Maire, Jürgen Schellberg, and Frédérique Louault. “Grass Strategies and Grassland Community Responses to Environmental Drivers: a Review.” Agronomy for Sustainable Development 35, no. 4 (2015): 1297–1318.

Agroforestry for Ecosystem Services and Environmental Benefits: An Overview 

Jose, Shibu. “Agroforestry for Ecosystem Services and Environmental Benefits: an Overview.” Advances in Agroforestry, 2009, 1–10.

REDD+ and Biodiversity Conservation: A Review of the Biodiversity Goals, Monitoring Methods, and Impacts of 80 REDD+ Projects 

Panfil, Steven N., and Celia A. Harvey. “REDD+ and Biodiversity Conservation: A Review of the Biodiversity Goals, Monitoring Methods, and Impacts of 80 REDD+ Projects.” Conservation Letters 9, no. 2 (2016): 143–50. 

Building a Common Vision for Sustainable Agriculture: Principles and Approaches 

UN FAO. Building a Common Vision for Sustainable Agriculture: Principles and Approaches. Good and Agriculture Organization of the United Stations, Rome, Italy, 2014. 

Prospects for Reconciling the Conflict between Economic Growth and Biodiversity Conservation with Technological Progress 

Czech. Prospects for Reconciling the Conflict between Economic Growth and Biodiversity Conservation with Technological Progress. Society for Conservation Biology. 2008 

Rationale and Methods for Conserving Biodiversity in Plantation Forests 

Hartley, Mitschka J. “Rationale and Methods for Conserving Biodiversity in Plantation Forests.” Forest Ecology and Management, Forest Ecology in the next Millennium : Putting the long view into Practice, 155, no. 1 (January 1, 2002): 81–95 

Supporting resurgent Indigenous-led governance: A nascent mechanism for just and effective conservation

Kyle A. Artelle, Melanie Zurba, Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Diana E. Chan, Kelly Brown, Jess Housty, Faisal Moola. 2019. “Supporting resurgent Indigenous-led governance: A nascent mechanism for just and effective conservation.” Biological Conservation 108284. doi:”$”:

Conservation policy and indigenous peoples 

Colchester, Marcus. “Conservation Policy and Indigenous Peoples.” Environmental Science & Policy 7, no. 3 (2004): 145–53.

Knowledge and actions: Cultural models of nature and resource management in Mesoamerica. 

Atran, Scot, and Douglas L Medin. “ Knowledge and Actions: Cultural Models of Nature and Resource Management in Mesoamerica.” Essay. In Environment, Ethics, and Behavior: The Psychology of Environmental Valuation and Degradation, edited by Max H Bazerman, David M Messiek, Ann E Tenbrunsel, and Kimberley A Wade-Benzoni. San Francisco: The New Lexington Press, 1997.

A spatial overview of the global importance of Indigenous lands for conservation 

Garnett, Stephen T., Neil D. Burgess, John E. Fa, Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, Zsolt Molnár, Cathy J. Robinson, James E. Watson, et al. “A Spatial Overview of the Global Importance of Indigenous Lands for Conservation.” Nature Sustainability 1, no. 7 (2018): 369–74.

Emerging Technologies to Conserve Biodiversity 

Pimm, Stuart L., Sky Alibhai, Richard Bergl, Alex Dehgan, Chandra Giri, Zoë Jewell, Lucas Joppa, Roland Kays, and Scott Loarie. “Emerging Technologies to Conserve Biodiversity.” Trends in Ecology & Evolution 30, no. 11 (2015): 685–96.

Eco-innovation to reduce biodiversity impacts of wind energy: Key examples and drivers in the UK 

Roddis, Philippa. “Eco-Innovation to Reduce Biodiversity Impacts of Wind Energy: Key Examples and Drivers in the UK.” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 28 (2018): 46–56.

Each resource is assigned a rating of rigor according to the NESTA Standards of Evidence.

Define Metrics

Core Metrics

This starter set of core metrics — chosen from the IRIS catalog with the input of impact investors who work in this area — indicate performance toward objectives within this strategy. They can help with setting targets, tracking performance, and managing toward success.

Interested in providing feedback on these IRIS metrics in the forthcoming public comment period? Request an invitation here and include “Biodiversity theme” in the box.

Additional Metrics

While the above core metrics provide a starter set of measurements that can show outcomes of a portfolio targeted toward this goal, the additional metrics below — or others from the IRIS catalog — can provide more nuance and depth to understanding your impact.